High Speed Buffing

Many “how to” sites discuss high-speed buffing, but they don’t cover which type of buffing is the best. Unless you’ve been a “wheelman” for a while, the last thing you want to do is get near a car with a high-speed buffing wheel. Go high-speed orbital instead!


The Right Tool for the Job Makes All the Difference

I know that’s probably not the information you were looking for. Car Detailers do a significant amount of business with customers who mess up their paint jobs with poor examples of high-speed buffing. Body shops get the same kinds of issues with their clientele. Why does this happen? Because people get it in their head, that high-speed buffing is the only way to get the job done. As Tim “The Toolman” Taylor used to say, “The right tool for the job makes all the difference.” In this case, high-speed buffing is “old school” when it comes to probably 90% of the buffing requirements on newer vehicles.

The Cadillac of High-speed Buffing

Here’s a comparison to consider. If you are interested in giving high-speed buffing a try, the best buffer on the market is the Makita 9227C 7″ Polisher/buffer. It also does double duty as a sander if you ever need one around the house. This is the Cadillac of high-speed buffing with variable speeds up to 3,000 rpm. It can handle anything you can throw at it. Another crucial issue to consider is the weight of the buffer. It only weighs 6 lbs. After high-speed buffing cars all day, you will sincerely appreciate the lighter weight of the Makita versus the other buffers on the market. Some guys will swear by Milwaukee’s and DeWalt’s, but put all three side by side and see how much lighter the Makita is. It’s also solidly built and can take a lot of abuse which is expected when you are high-speed buffing. We had several at our shop. I swear somebody dropped each one on a daily basis and they still held up for years.

My personal advice, don’t bother getting a high-speed wheel buffer

Now the comparison. My personal advice, don’t bother getting a high-speed wheel buffer until you get good with a high-speed orbital. I know this sounds like sacrilege to many of the old school detailers out there since most guys pride themselves on their expertise with a wheel. But think about all the damage you did when you were still starting out high-speed buffing. You can tear off the trim, burn the paint, melt plastic, discolor the rubber window gaskets and even tear them off the windows. 3,000 rpm is wicked fast.

Get a Porter Cable 7424 High-Speed Orbital Polisher

My advice is to get a Porter Cable 7424 High-Speed Orbital Polisher. These buffers do a fantastic job and allow you to rely more on the different grades of pads and the grit of the glaze or compound you are using. Don’t get me wrong, these are still capable of 3,000 rpm, but they are orbital, so you aren’t going to get as much cutting with an orbital. But you also don’t get all the potential negative damage that can happen from high-speed buffing a car. You can use a red heavy duty pad with a high grit compound and do just as good a job on a newer car buff the paint back to like new condition. Follow-up with a polish glaze and then finish it off with an excellent high-grade wax or polymer sealant and the vehicle finish will look new.

Avoid the Risk of Swirling the Paint

The other benefit of using Porter Cable Orbital’s is that you avoid the risk of swirling the paint since it’s a high-speed orbital buffer. These polishers are truly wonderful to have in your equipment arsenal. Check out the Auto Detailing Supplies and Equipment Checklist for even more details on these buffers. I have three just for my vehicles at home. I use two for buffing and polishing and the third I have a carpet brush attachment, and it’s great for scrubbing stains out of carpets. I still have my Makita for the occasional high-speed buffing project, but it mostly just sits on the shelf.

Don’t Be Afraid to Try New Things

One thing I learned in the car detailing business is that many of the guys in our industry get so used to dealing with certain things that won’t try anything new. Don’t let yourself get into that rut. New technologies come out every day in this business. The guys that try new cleaners and equipment are the one’s that succeed. One of the benefits of your detailing business to suppliers is they want you to try their products out. So anytime somebody stops in to sell you something tell them you will give it a try as long as they leave you some free samples or a demo unit if it’s equipment. I could always tell the serious companies from the losers with that simple technique.  Serious sellers who want your business will give you any samples you want and leave equipment for you to try for at least a week. If you don’t like it, they take it back. You never know, that new product might save you minutes or even hours in your daily work schedule. So don’t be afraid to try new things. That’s how I discovered the Porter Cable Orbital a year before anybody else in my area even knew they were out. Funny thing is most of the guys in my area still won’t use the high-speed orbital because “it’s not old school” and not their normal way of high-speed buffing.

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Suggested Pages to Check Out

Detail Shop Liability Insurance Page with Info on Garage Keepers Liability Coverage

1099 Contractors and Other Detail Shop Tax Issues

Go Back To Home Auto Detailing Step-by-Step Page